Tana French is one of my favourite authors.
I first discovered her books back in 2013 and I’ve been a fan ever since. The Trespasser was the only one I hadn’t read and I put off reading it for months because she just published a book recently (The Searcher) and who knows when she’ll publish her next one. So I savoured it.
I’m normally not a huge fan of detective/murder stories. I find many of them formulaic and lazy and I’ve been burnt enough times to know to avoid them. Tana French is different. Not only are her books labyrinthine plot-wise, her language is descriptive and rich. When I recommend her books to friends, I compare her to Donna Tartt. Ok, maybe not quite, but there is a similar quality there, in the way both authors create vivid worlds full of intrigue and mystery.
Anyway, back to The Trespasser.
This is the 6th and final (?) novel in a series called Dublin Murder Squad. Each novel follows a different detective as they solve a case, and usually a secondary character becomes the main character in the next one (don’t worry about reading these in the wrong order). This one follows Antoinette Conway, a tough, no-nonsense detective that no one in the squad except her partner Steve likes. As their night shift is coming to an end one Sunday morning, a murder case falls on their lap: at first glance it looks like your garden variety domestic violence case, but soon we come to realise it’s a little (or a lot) more complicated than that.
The main characters are complex, driven by their past, their personalities, their circumstances. They are far from perfect. No shiny heroes here, just real humans with flaws and the potential to learn. The scene of the crime, Dublin, provides a grey, miserable backdrop to the story and you can feel the humidity creeping under your clothes. The dialogues feel authentic, they are exciting and fun. The novel never quite reaches the heights of In The Woods, French’s first Dublin Murder Squad story: that one had an almost supernatural darkness to it that this one lacks, but that’s not to say that The Trespasser is all fun and games. The darkness feels real instead, and the scenarios that unfold could very well happen.
If you haven’t discovered Tana French yet and you’re into murder mysteries, go read her now.